Blog: Josie's Sentence

(originally written 3/2/12)

The scene: our living room. I am preparing supper in the kitchen. Josie is playing on the floor.


At approximately 1800 hours, she looks my way and asks "Daddy, turn the heater on please."


I attempt to confirm: "You want the heater on, baby?"
She responds: "Ummm...no."


Oh, great, I think to myself. Only two and already with the passive-aggressive mind games. And I can't evict her for 16 more years.


Then it hits me: my daughter just uttered a perfectly-structured sentence. Her very first, at least in my presence. My baby girl is becoming a person, not just a bauble I parade around to get attention (kidding).


It's kind of ironic when you think about it. My worst personality traits—selfishness, irresponsibility, impulsiveness, dishonesty—gave me the best gift I've ever gotten.


Watching Josie grow up before my very eyes has been an amazing (and challenging) journey. She's gone from a little wrinkly ball to a dancing, singing acrobat in what seems like six months (actually 28).


Just yesterday, it seems, her mom and I were begging her to learn to walk—lugging that formidable body around was not kind to either of our spinal columns. Today, not only is she walking, she is running. And jumping in the bed. And leaping off the bed. And attempting to leap off platforms taller than she is (which is where Daddy steps in).


When Josie was an infant, I did like all the stupid books suggested and bought her a mobile, along with just about anything else that played soothing music. Josie didn't care; she'd rip them down and smash them. Today she makes me play the same YouTube music vids over and over and over...and over...and over again. She knows at least eight songs, including God Bless America, often bursting into song with no provocation (such as when I'm teaching her shapes).


Until about 18 months old, Josie would put literally anything in her mouth if left unguarded. String, my nose, the remote control, keys, even photos—you name it. If only she had that kind of accuracy today; 30-40% of any meal I feed her ends up in her lap, down her shirt, or in her hair.
And now she's busting out whole sentences.


I was repeatedly warned to "savor every moment" of her development because "she'd grow up fast" (including once by this creepy Southern dude, who all but ordered me to savor every moment under the implied penalty of a good ol' country ass-whuppin'). And I honestly did. I'd spend entire weekends just savoring. Savoring and freezing time are two different things, however. And no matter how much you may enjoy the status quo, no baby stays helpless forever.


It is only a matter of time before she's in the fridge, trying unsuccessfully to pour her own "nook" (milk), relieving herself in private, putting on her own clothes, and having tea playdates with other little girls while I'm trying to watch SportsCenter. At that time, I'll wonder "When did this happen? Wasn't it just yesterday she spoke her first sentence?"


And Josie will respond: "Daddy, you're not here to talk about the past."
(I love my future Josie already.)